- Conservative estimates suggest "Spider-Man: No Way Home" will top the $100 million mark over its three-day debut, but co-producer Sony projects a tally closer to $130 million.
- More optimistic box office analysts suggest the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film could top $200 million.
- The latest Marvel installment is one of the most anticipated films of the year, and fans eager to avoid spoilers are expected to arrive in droves to cinemas this weekend.
The domestic box office may have finally found a hero.
Marvel's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swings into U.S. theaters this weekend with the promise of big gains for the movie theater industry. Conservative estimates suggest "Spider-Man: No Way Home," Tom Holland's third run as the iconic webslinger, will top the $100 million mark over its three-day debut, but co-producer Sony projects the film will tally closer to $130 million.
"'Spider-Man: No Way Home' isn't just the most anticipated movie of the holiday season, it's the most anticipated movie of the year," said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. "As we've seen from countless other superhero flicks in 2021, audiences will not only break the box office opening weekend, but have legs for months."
"One hundred million dollars is a done deal. One hundred fifty million may be within its grasp," Bock said.
Any figure over $100 million would be a milestone for the pandemic era, as the current record is the $90 million haul Sony's "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" pulled in back in October.
Holland's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" secured $117 million during its three-day opening in 2017 and "Spider-Man: Far From Home" stuck a $92 million landing in 2019, according to Comscore data. Currently, the highest-grossing franchise flick is 2007's "Spider-Man 3" featuring Tobey Maguire in the title role.
More optimistic box office analysts suggest that the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film could top $200 million. Of course, the pandemic box office has been incredibly difficult to predict and indicators, like advanced ticket sales, have not been as accurate in determining an opening weekend haul as they've been in previous years.
The domestic box office has rebounded from historic lows in 2020, but has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. While many movie theaters have instituted mask mandates, not all audiences have felt comfortable returning to cinemas. Films aimed at older audiences like "No Time to Die," "House of Gucci," "The Last Duel" and "West Side Story" have not been able to draw in large crowds of moviegoers.
Franchise films, on the other hand, have been a major draw for audiences — particularly those that target the 18- to 40-year-old demographic.
Kicked off by "F9" and "Black Widow," the domestic box office has made gains in 2021 and there is hope that 2022 will continue those trends with films like "The Batman," "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness" and "Jurassic World: Dominion."
The MCU has an enviable box office track record and lands in a demographic sweet spot, continuing to entice younger audience members while holding on to older fans who follow franchise hits.
With Holland in the lead role of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," combined with months of conjecture about which characters might appear, this latest MCU installment is poised to be a record setter for the pandemic era. Fans eager to avoid spoilers are expected to arrive in droves to cinemas this weekend.
"'No Way Home' has already captured the cultural zeitgeist and it isn't even out yet," said Shawn Robbins, chief media analyst at BoxOffice.com. "Films like that are a rare breed, because they drive intense enthusiasm and rampant speculation for months, and sometimes years."
"The film is promising gigantic stakes and a very unique hook that could forever change the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Robbins added.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. Universal released "No Time To Die" internationally while MGM handled its domestic release. Universal is also the distributor of "F9," "House of Gucci" and "Jurassic World: Dominion."